Last week in this very column, we counted down the six coolest members of uncool bands. This week, we flip the script. Here are the six most uncool members of cool bands, and they're all probably really nice people.
6. Jon Anderson - singer, Yes
Jon Anderson is the reason Rush fans think Yes fans are nerds. His lyrics are all fairy dust, and he tends to bring the band into his Renaissance Faire universe rather than contribute to its badassness. When Anderson and Yes cohabitate properly, the band is unstoppable. "Close To The Edge," man, seriously. But when Yes becomes the Jon Anderson show, like on "Wonderous Stories," it's pretty weak.
5. Jimmy Chamberlin - drummer, Smashing Pumpkins
At a certain point in an ongoing abusive relationship, you begin to give up on the victim.
4. Phil Elverum - Mount Eerie / The Microphones
The music Phil Elverum makes as Mount Eerie (formerly The Microphones) is consistently interesting, frequently chilling, and often devastating. I also suspect that Phil Elverum, the person, might be a serial killer. You may be asking, how can the sole member of a one-man band be its least cool member? The answer is "exactly."
3. Robert Plant - singer, Led Zeppelin
Robert Plant is a capable singer who writes decent lyrics from time to time. But when Zeppelin was jamming, he was the most worthless human being. Rather than just pull an Ozzy and wander around stage or take bong rips in the back of the studio during the long guitar solo, Plant made atrocious sex noises and said "baby" so many times in a row you'd think he was dared. Producer Alex Newport once told me that if Kurt Cobain was the singer of Led Zeppelin, it would be the greatest band of all time. Not sure if I agree, but a Plant-less Zeppelin sounds amazing.
2. Lee Ranaldo - singer, Sonic Youth
Lee Ranaldo is not on this list because of his guitar playing (which rules) but for his work as a vocalist. Think about your favorite Sonic Youth record. Think about your least favorite songs on it. Think about who sings them. It's Lee Ranaldo. Sonic Youth has never been a vocalist band, but at least Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon can hold their own most of the time. Meanwhile, Ranaldo sings like a slacker beatnik and writes lyrics that would lose his group points in a high school battle of the bands. Most frustrating is that HE RELEASES POETRY BOOKS!
1. Scott Shriner - bassist, Weezer
Weezer was super cool in its initial run with bassist Matt Sharp. The reborn Green Album incarnation with bassist Mikey Welsh had sparkles of potential, but the current lineup (and longest in Weezer's history) with Scott Shriner is consistently pathetic. There are multiple reasons to dislike Shriner. He looks like a mix between "Weird Al" Yankovic, Jonathan Davis from Korn and every sex offender. Rivers Cuomo might have a well-known fetish for young Asian girls, but at least he doesn't look like he does. I have seen Weezer twice since Shriner joined and both times he butchered the bassline to "Only In Dreams," which is heresy. Scott Shriner is a paradox. He is so uncool that he makes Weezer hopelessly uncool as well. But if Weezer was cooler, the band would never hire Shriner. So Shriner might not belong on this list; he may just be the physical embodiment of my old favorite band losing its edge, and I am definitely projecting too much towards him. But as of now, Scott Shriner is the most uncool member of a cool band. At least until Flea joins a band with Thom Yorke or something.
See also: -The Ten Biggest Concert Buzzkills: An Illustrated Guide -Crotching Whiskey at the Justin Bieber Concert and Getting Thrown Out: A Review -The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos Ever -The Ten Worst Music Tattoos Ever